Again the Quebec magazine L’actualitê has an interesting feature article in its April edition dealing with COVID-19 and translated it means what are the steps we can take to ensure we don’t have a year like 2020?
The second step is to better protect health care workers on the front line.
In Quebec in the first wave of COVID-19 36% of the infected in the health care sector were personal health care workers, 22% nurses, 12% nursing assistants and 3% physicians.
There is a need to ensure these workers have appropriate PPE. Quebec had no reserves of PPE which permitted a less aggressive attack on the first wave.
44% of the health care workers infected in the springtime of 2020 received no training on the prevention and control of infections or only received written information and when instructions were given they were often incoherent and confusing due to a constant changing of directives.
The shortage of health care workers forced personal care workers and nurses to work in different institutions which only increased the transmission of the virus. Each institution functioned differently and there often was no general manager in charge of long-term care so employees did the best they could do to survive. In the spring of 2020 30-40% of infected health care workers worked in more than one institution. Dr. Geoffroy Denis speaks of the mental suffering of front-line workers, many underpaid and sent to different institutions making coherent team development difficult.
Personal health care workers in the public sector are earning $22.35 per hour while a chambermaid in a prominent Montreal hotel would make $22.67. This hardly makes sense for the personal health care workers taking care of the elderly. The Quebec government is willing to offer $26 in upcoming union negotiations for the personal health care workers